Montfoort, Harbourside Sunday Market, Wellington

It was meant to be a week off from pie tasting.  I’d ventured with my son to the Wellington harbourside market in search of fresh veggies and swings. But I’ve now become so well-trained at spotting a promising pie that when we passed Montfoort I knew we had to make a stop.

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Selling their sweet treats out of a small retro caravan, Montfoort is run by a young couple, Eloise and Andrew. Eloise is the daughter of a NZ-based Dutchman and was raised on the sweet dishes of his homeland. Drawing upon family recipes, Montfoort offers stroopwafel biscuits, poffertjes (Dutch pancakes), appeltaart (apple pie) and occasionally oliebollen (doughnuts).

The Dutch know exactly how to cook an apple pie, and Montfoort’s appeltaarts are delicious. The buttery pastry is made from scratch, and is moist and crumbly. It’s golden and biscuity on the outside but still slightly gooey on the inside of the lid from absorbing the apple juices, just as it should be. The filling is made with granny smiths, plump soaked raisins, and cinnamon.

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Unlike many an apple pie that you’ll find in New Zealand bakeries, which contains over-sweetened apples cooked to a pulpy puree, this pie contains layers of thin apple slices that retain a very slight bite. This manages to keep the juicy, refreshing flavour of a fresh apple, while also offering all the concentrated flavours of a baked apple. And it’s just the right level of sweet.

It was so good my son was reluctant to give it up for me to taste (and retaste to be sure). He liked it so much he even tried to convince his beloved monkey to try some. We polished it off before we’d even made it out of the market and on to the swings.

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I recently learned of the Dutch word lekker. With no direct equilelant in English, it can mean delicious, tasty, pleasant, fun and hearty. It connotes both the food itself and the activity of pleasurable eating. Eating this appeltaart with a fresh coffee and a dollop of cream on a quiet morning in the sun? That’s certainly lekker.

Dank je, Montfoort, for a supremely good apple pie.

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